The rosters for the 2015 MLB All Star Game became official yesterday and the Royals have six players in the game. They could add one more with Mike Moustakas a part of the final five that’s voted on by the fans. While six (possibly seven) is the most players they’ve ever had in one year, it’s still not as many as Royals fans were hoping for.
Just three weeks ago Royals fans had high hopes of getting as many as eight starters alone into the game. Of course that’s when the negative stories and opinions began showing up in the national media. Many baseball people were talking about that the All Star Game should only be for those who deserve to be in the game. What they failed to talk about was who defines the term “deserving” for the game?
I got in many debates over what the term “deserving” is the last few weeks and everyone defined it differently. Some people said it’s all about offensive numbers. Some people said it was all about WAR and other sabermetric numbers. Others said career achievements were a factor, like Derek Jeter making it his last few years even though he was not a great player anymore. My idea of deserving is being a member of the Kansas City Royals. Not scientific and didn’t involve a bunch of research, but it included the only category that matters to me.
This would get me into a second debate about how Royals fans weren’t respecting the game of baseball. What I tried to explain to them was that I don’t care about baseball. I don’t sit at home and watch the Rays take on the Rockies. I didn’t watch a single inning of college baseball this season. I’m a Royals fan and I like watching Royals games. The only way I watch any other baseball games are if something historical is happening or it’s the playoffs. Even some of my closest friends, hi Kelly, still can’t understand how I can be such a diehard Royals fan yet not be a diehard baseball fan.
During these debates I tried to remind people that the real problem wasn’t with Royals fans; it was with the system the MLB had setup. Allowing fans to make up any email they want and vote thirty five times from that email with no verification was dumb. Royals’ fans didn’t do anything wrong or against the rules. We didn’t stuff the ballot in fraudulent terms the way the Cincinnati Reds did back in the 1950’s. People should have thanked us because the only way to change the system was to embarrass the MLB enough that they would have to change it.
Lucky for the people I debated, Major League Baseball fixed the voting and made it so only the four most deserving players won the vote. Salvador Perez is the best all-around catcher in the American League and I don’t think that’s even close. Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon may not have the most astounding offensive statistics, but they are two of the best all-around outfielders in the game. Alcedes Escobar is the in the same boat as Gordon & Cain, he may not be the best offensive shortstop in baseball but he’s one of the best all-around and deserving.
MLB admitted to removing over 60 million votes, so it’s not a big surprise that the media darlings won. Miguel Cabrera passed Eric Hosmer, Nelson Cruz passed Kendrys Morales and Jose Altuve passed Omar Infante. You won’t hear me saying that any of those four Royals are better than the players who passed them because they aren’t. But I will say it’s pretty fishy that as those player’s votes started rising the Royals votes became stagnant. This seems to be in contradiction to the feeling around Kansas City that Royals fans had not slowed down their voting one bit.
Even though the Royals lost some starters, their fans can still celebrate a victory as they still have six, soon to be seven, All Stars. Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera join the four starters on the team as arguably the best bullpen in baseball is well represented. MLB decided to put Mike Moustakas into the final five votes and also give fans the ability to vote an unlimited amount of times. Royals’ fans will once again prove that we are up to the challenge and Moose will win that vote to give the Royals seven players. For this reason Royals fans can celebrate, even if our #VoteOmar imitative fell just a little short.
Who I feel for are those baseball purists who hate the fan voting for such a serious game. Those people who think that the All Star game means something and only the best of the best deserve to be there. Those who took to their blogs and their Twitter to rant and rave about the ignorant Royals fan ruining the game they love. Well now they can watch the game they love and see Jose Altuve instead of Omar Infante. So they won that little battle, one of the worst every day players in baseball will not be starting the ASG. But they lost the war because there won’t be any sweeping changes to the system next year. Fan voting will be a part of the 2016 ASG and there is a good chance we’ll be having this same argument all over again. Starting Infante could have stopped the madness and ended this discussion forever. Instead those short sighted people will have to return next year to fight this battle all over again. So next year I ask everyone remember this moment, and next year let’s all fix the system and #VoteRoyals.